News about the localization in Portugal of companies and experts related to the cryptoeconomy succeed each other and Figures shared by Chainalysis show that Portugal represents the eighth largest crypto economy in Western Europe and sixth in the European Union. The potential of the ecosystem has been recognized, but the lack of regulatory predictability, at a time when several initiatives are underway, has three Portuguese Web 3.0 associations have decided to join forces in a federation, FACE – an acronym for the Federation of Crypto Economy Associations.
In an interview for SAPO TEK, the representatives of the three associations explained the reasons that led them to create the Alliance, maintaining the parallel activities of the three associations – Aliança Portuguesa de Blockchain, Associação Portuguesa de Blockchain e Cryptocurreadas (APBC) and Instituto New Economy. The priorities defined by FACE in order not to block the development of the growing ecosystem and the way they want to be the initiator of the dialogue, were also topics of conversation in which they wanted to dispel some myths related to the sector.
“We want to actively participate in the creation of new diplomas and contribute feedback in a more unique way. Communication will not be so easy if the industry turns out to be fragmented,” he pointed out Ricardo Filipe, Vice President of the Portuguese Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (APBC)during a joint interview.
Hugo Volz Oliveira, secretary of the Institute for the New Economy, points out that compared to other European countries, the crypto ecosystem in Portugal is very developed and cites figures from Chainalysis where it is mentioned that Portugal is in 8th place in Europe, but that in terms of data per capita it is in third place, behind the Netherlands and Switzerland. The indicator is positive but there is a risk of losing position due to excessive bureaucracy and unclear and predictable tax regime which can alienate experts and companies that want to locate in Portugal.
“Web 3.0 is the driver of economic development”, he reminds José Reis Santos, Vice President of the Portuguese Blockchain Alliance (ALL2BC), which argues that we need to extricate ourselves from the litany of low-wage competitiveness. “There are companies and digital nomads who come to Portugal because this is the place to develop projects and stay close to the developing community and ecosystem.”
There is no concrete data or survey on the number of professionals working in this field in Portugal, nor on the companies located in the country, and this is the mapping that FACE also wants to do, but it is an ecosystem that all indicators show is growing.
Clarity, fairness and competitiveness in the regulatory framework
The regulatory and fiscal framework is one of the main concerns of FACE, at a time when is preparing the finalization of the MICA (Markets in Crypto-Assets) directive and the consequent transposition into internal regulations by 2024.. “We are completing a study with the authorities that will summarize our point of view,” explains Hugo Volz Oliveira, adding that the vision is to create a clear tax regime, defended by the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The problem is not paying taxes, but ensuring that they are fair and competitive, clear, without creating fear that they will be retroactive,” explains Hugo Volz Oliveira.
“We are finishing a study with the authorities that will summarize the position,” he also told SAPO TEK.
For the secretary of the Institute of New Economy the idea that the lack of regulation in Portugal has been beneficial to the development of the cryptoeconomy is wrong. “In the beginning, bringing in digital nomads may have been a trick, but the whole framework for promoting entrepreneurship and startups contributed to the development of the cryptoeconomy,” he says, stressing, however, that all the delay in the regulatory framework led to an impact on the ecosystem.
“In terms of taxation, the IRC is clear […] The lack of predictability affects Portugal compared to other places [como os Estados Unidos ou Singapura] which offer incentives to attract talent“, he emphasizes, guaranteeing that “the tax regime and the related uncertainty have been criticized by several organizations”.
The possibility to be an interlocutor for a constant dialogue with the Government and legislators is one of the goals of the federation, which wants to serve as an interface, helping to build solutions in a collaborative way, explains José Reis Santos. “It is perfectly logical that we present ourselves to institutions with a face that is a point of dialogue “, he says. Before the election, a survey was prepared on how different party forces approached Web 3.0, and a text was created that identified the crypto-economy as a factor in national development.
Literacy is also a key point. “We want to make a connection with the ecosystem and training of public, central and local institutions. ANDwe understand that it is a very new sector and that it is developing very quickly, and it is normal that the legislator must know what the ecosystem is doing“, says the vice president of the Portuguese Blockchain Alliance (ALL2BC).
For now, FACE is preparing a document with a shared vision that it wants to collaborate with the Government and authorities, as well as mapping the ecosystem in Portugal, collecting data from companies and experts working on blockchain, cryptocurrencies and digital assets. A number of initiatives and conferences are planned for the month of October, which could bring even more dynamism to the accelerated sector.